BAKERSFIELD. Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Gavin Newsom said blistering critiques of the death penalty system by retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer are a hallmark of his legacy and built support for a “more just” criminal justice system.

“A San Francisco native and Stanford graduate, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has brought core California values to our nation’s highest court throughout his distinguished tenure, shaping impactful decisions to strengthen our democracy and change lives for the better,” said a statement issued by Newsom Wednesday.

Breyer, 83, will retired later this year, according to reports. Nominated by Bill Clinton, Breyer took his seat on the Supreme Court bench Aug. 3, 1994.

Newsom said the judge made critical contributions on opinions upholding reproductive rights, protecting access under the Affordable Care Act and explaining how greater control of tobacco products is needed to protect public health.

“California and the nation owe Justice Breyer a deep debt of gratitude for his tireless work to defend our highest constitutional values,” Newsom said. “At this pivotal moment, it’s imperative that the next Supreme Court justice continue his work to create a brighter future for all.”